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Romanticism In Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Updated September 10, 2022
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Romanticism In Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck essay

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The Of Mice and Men is a novel set by the Salinas River in the Salinas Valley. It was published in 1937 by John Steinbeck. The novel centres around a journey of two people sharing a dream of owning a farm during the Great Depression. Of Mice and Men dives into friendships, harmful effects of isolation and use of animal imagery to foreshadow future events which is a key focal characteristic in this novel. This characteristic keeps the reader engaged and urges him/her to carry on reading. This is because the reader’s mind has realised this (foreshadowing) is a warning of a possible event that is yet to come. Many writers adopt this method and Steinbeck uses it to his advantage.

Candy has been with the dog “since he was a pup”. The very first word “since” is associated with time, telling us that the event has been a long time in coming and the reason I say that is because the quotation includes “was a pup”. A pup is a small dog and the fact the quotation includes “since” makes the reader form a scene in their head that there has been a bond existing between 2 characters for a long time. I think this is a fitting description of Candy and his dog. They have been together for a long time. Candy has been with the dog “since he was a pup” and he’d feel lonely without having the companion of his dog. Early on in the 5th chapter, Lennie was staring at a small puppy for a long time in front of him. “then he put out his huge hand and stroked it”.

The thought Lennie had in his head about the puppy made him think it was a ‘canvas’ for him to test out his power. Lennie does not get the idea of his strength and stroked the puppy to death. This was bothersome to George as he has a decent relationship with Candy, and if Candy figured out his dog had been killed, he’d put up with George as well as Lennie. In George’s mind, he had to kill Lennie so he won’t be able to devise another incident like this. From George’s point of view, he had to kill Lennie so he can be safe and not cause any further similar incidents.

In the 1st chapter of the novel, Lennie is caught by George that he has a dead mouse in his pocket. While Lennie states his innocence, he hands in the dead mouse to George. “you’ve broke it pettin’ it”. This quote proves that Lennie loves petting soft things. We see another display of Lennie’s lack of self-consciousness. However, Lennie is forgiven by George of that mouse as he gives Lennie “another mouse that’s fresh and I’ll let you keep it a little while.” As he said this, he did not keep in mind Lennie’s unstableness in his attitude and his mind.

This scene is again replicated in chapter 5 when Curley’s wife is killed by Lennie. Curley’s wife ran into Lennie as Lennie mourned about the puppy he had killed. Curley’s wife offers Lennie to stroke her hair. I think she should have thought twice about letting Lennie stroke her hair as Lennie had been accused of raping a woman. Lennie likes soft things too, and Curley’s wife’s hair was soft. As he began to stroke her hair, Curley’s wife made things worse by repeatedly saying “Oh! That’s nice” and that lead to Lennie stroking with more force. Lennie is a big and powerful man and his huge hands were too much to handle for Curley’s wife’s neck. Curley’s wife “flopped like a fish” and remained still as a result of her neck swinging loosely in the hands of Lennie, Curley’s wife’s neck had been broken. Curley is furious when the news about the death of Curley’s wife, hits him. He demands that Lennie be killed. Meanwhile, Lennie flees the scene to hide. Lennie hides away in the bushes as directed by George early in the novel. George finds Lennie and shoots him with Carlson’s gun in his head. Lennie then lay on the sand without a quiver.

This is similar to the water snake we came across in the first chapter. The snake goes and hides in the water. We don’t hear about the snake until the last chapter of the novel where the snake is eaten by a Herron. Lennie and Curley’s wife scene in the 5th chapter is replicated by a Heron and a snake. The snake goes and hides in the water for protection, just like Lennie did to flee the scene of Curley’s wife’s death. It hides in the water until the last chapter when “a water snake glided…”. This means after staying in the water for some time, the snake decided to come out stealthily. This might be because it is concerned about a possible imminent threat as snake twists its “periscope head from side to side.” This may show us that the snake is sensing danger, so it swings its periscopic head side to side.

As the quotation includes the word “periscope”, it describes the cautiousness of its surroundings. The snake is looking around him with high alert. There is a motionless Heron stood by the banks. It plucks the snake out of the water by its head, just like George shot Lennie in the head. As the snake was being plucked by the Heron, “its tail waved frantically.” This shows fear in the snake as it inches closer to death. However, before being shot, Lennie asks George about the dream of the farm, this would’ve very likely been said in a painful tone as George was carrying a gun. The snake foreshadows Lennie’s death as the script of the snake’s death coincides with how Lennie was killed. Nature often tends to “experiment” with its people of their survival skills subject to the environment. The Great Depression is that test. The last thing anybody would need is more fish on their plate or in other words, more trouble. Lennie’s frequent mishaps provoked George to kill Lennie one day or the other. In George’s mind, he had to kill Lennie to restrain him from further nuisance. George would be serving himself as well as he won’t have anyone to be vigilant of Lennie anymore.

In conclusion, Steinbeck has used animal imagery effectively which results in a deeper understanding of the characters in the novel “Of Mice and Men”. This method of animal imagery foreshadows and gives a timely warning of an event that might occur later in the novel. Frequent use of this tactic carries an urgent message which leads the reader into further speculating the dynamics of the story. Lennie being replaced by Slim after his death implies that anyone can be replaced.

Romanticism In Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck essay

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Romanticism In Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/of-mice-and-men-by-john-steinbeck-analysis/

FAQ

How is Of Mice and Men an example of modernism?
John Steinbeck's 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, embodies a variety of Modernist themes and topics, including insight to the human condition and recognizing the world as a hideous place, while also telling a compelling tale about the differences between people .
Is love a theme in Of Mice and Men?
The Alchemist and Of Mice and Men both clearly have these two themes of love and friendship and can very well relate to many readers lives, and my own. In the book Of Mice and Men, Lennie and George both have a strong relationship and show love toward each other.
Is Of Mice and Men literary fiction?
It also follows just one main plot, which classifies it as a novella. Of Mice and Men is considered tragic realistic fiction because the events and characters are within a real world setting with real circumstances but did not actually occur in history.
Is Of Mice and Men naturalism or realism?
Of Mice and Men employs a very particular type of realism called "naturalism," a type of literature where the narrator looks at the characters as though they're scientific specimens: objectively and dispassionately.
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